Dissertationsprojekt: Between the Old Country and America: National and Religious Aspects of Czech Immigration to the USA (1840s – 1870s)
The thesis deals with the early phase of mass emigration from Bohemia and Moravia to the USA. It attempts to describe the topic from three perspectives: from the Czech and Czech-American, as well as the American point of view. The thesis focuses especially on two closely related aspects, nationalism and religion, and their various forms. The national aspect included not only polarization between Czechism and assimilation, but also crucial contacts with other minorities, especially with Germans and Poles. The religious transition was even more dramatic. As a result, religious conflict between Czech Catholics, Freethinkers and small Protestant minority emerged. The Freethinkers became most numerous religious group among American Czechs, a fact which is unique in the context of European immigration to the USA. Thus, the study of Czech-American community reveals also information on the Czech society in the Old country.